The Western Australian Department of Health plans to empower its workforce through improved connectivity and communication systems.
Outdated corporate systems currently used by WA Health are riddled with issues and pose unnecessary problems for the workforce, according to the department’s new digital strategy. It has proposed the updating of systems and redesigning processes to improve service delivery, reduce cost, save time and improve the employee experience.
The department plans to bring in a mobile-enabled, single sign-on employee portal to give employees streamlined access to their personal records such as rosters and payroll, as well as specific business and clinical systems. This would reduce the need to navigate multiple systems and improve usability, the strategy said. The portal would have “role-based access control and protection for personal information and digital identities”, which, when combined with identity access management, would “streamline new digital ways of working”.
The strategy also proposed a third-party corporate platform for staff to communicate with suppliers, check the status of work orders and make payments, which would save resources and support interactions with industry and local government.
An electronic credentialing system will also be implemented. It would let health practitioners maintain their credentialing profile after their qualifications had been verified. The profile could then be shared across multiple sites, and, if combined with a new Learning Management System, could help ensure that qualified people be quickly available where needed. The Learning Management System would structure future learning and track and credit prior learning across the organisation. It would also simplify the process of verifying core competencies when staff move between sites or between health service providers, and would allow service providers to develop customised content.
A new Financial Management Information System would improve system configuration, decision-making and accountability, workflow productivity, financial management, and system administration. The strategy argued that this new system should be “seamlessly integrated” with other systems and supported by a central data warehouse.
WA Health’s Sustainable Health Review report, which was released in April, called for “investment in a systemwide integrated workforce information system to support workforce planning and support through linked information, including payroll, Human Resources, learning management, rostering, training, credentialing and performance development”.
The strategy has taken this recommendation on board, and human resource, recruitment, rostering and payroll systems will be replaced with enterprise solutions will support automation, improve data quality, efficiency and enhance reporting.
“Urgent consideration is needed to ensure continued reliable processing of rostering and payroll information, as the current Human Resources applications are outdated,” the strategy said.
Investment in system-wide business intelligence systems to streamline data collections and support system-wide data sharing was also recommended in the review report. A business intelligence and analytics strategy would guide the aggregation and use of data collected across the health system, while ensuring health record confidentiality.
Developed in collaboration with an extensive group of stakeholders, including patients, carers and health system staff, the digital strategy will foster technological reform and transform the delivery of health services across WA, according to Health Minister Roger Cook.
“Under a digitally enhanced system, health staff will have the ability to work more flexibly and effectively and clinicians will have more time to spend with patients,” he said.
“Innovation will also lead to better access to health services, empowered health consumers and improved health outcomes for all Western Australians into the future.”